About the Energy Initiative

The Energy Initiative is a collective of planners, designers, and others with an interest in the intersection between the spaces we inhabit and the ever-shifting sources of the energy we consume. The initiative provides a forum for discussion, investigation, and contribution to the advancement of collective knowledge of the planning and design professional fields in the area of energy.

For more information about the Northern Section Energy Initiative, contact us.

Recent News

New analysis: How can commercial redevelopment address the California housing crisis?

By Joe Distefano, UrbanFootprint, June 16, 2021. Spatial analytics company UrbanFootprint shows the development potential and limits of SB 6 as currently written.

TransitCenter launches San Francisco-Oakland transit equity dashboard

From TransitCenter, June 17, 2021. The dashboard visualizes disparities in accessibility and reliability of transit across race, income, and other characteristics from February 2020 through February 2021.

CA high-speed rail will get back federal grant Trump withheld

By Lauren Hernández, San Francisco Chronicle, June 10, 2021. The grant funding will assist the High-Speed Rail Authority in completing the project’s ‘initial operating segment’ of the system.

Racial segregation runs deep in San Jose, report says

By Lloyd Alaban, San Jose Spotlight, June 8, 2021. The city intends to incorporate its findings from the state-mandated Assessment of Fair Housing into the next housing element.

San Jose and San Francisco among cities that saw sharpest pandemic population loss

By William H. Frey, Brookings, June 8, 2021. These population declines could be part of a new trend or, to some degree, temporary.

Klamath River management pivotal in a brewing California-Oregon water crisis

By Emma Marris, The Atlantic, June 5, 2021. Policy that promotes restoration led by Klamath Tribes, federal investment, and partnership with California and Oregon farmers will likely be crucial.

Visual report: How sea level rise threatens SF’s Mission Creek neighborhoods

By John King, San Francisco Chronicle, June 4, 2021. Mission Bay is home to thousands of people, and action on sea level rise only becomes more urgent.

Oakland considers banning ADUs in the hills to avoid fire danger

By Natalie Orenstein, Oaklandside, June 3, 2021. At a Planning Commission meeting, planning staff and the Oakland Fire Department proposed a blanket ban, while many callers wanted a targeted approach.

New MTC study: Findings for assisting seniors, disabled people on Bay Area transit

From Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Mass Transit Magazine, June 2, 2021. A partnership between MTC and World Institute on Disability resulted in a 2.5-year research and community engagement study with recommendations.

Oakland’s Slow Streets experience may inspire the future of cities

By Adam Mann, Wired UK, June 2, 2021. Oakland’s commitment to equity and willingness to experiment with the public right of way opened new directions in planning.

SF is about to see a wave of affordable housing projects bring 900 homes to the city

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, May 28, 2021. Mayor London Breed said the nine projects represent a ‘central pillar’ of the city’s post-Covid recovery.

San Jose approves Google’s downtown village and campus in historic vote

By Maggie Angst, Mercury News, May 26, 2021. The monumental project marks the largest economic development deal ever made in San Jose.

2020 annual statewide planning survey results released

From Office of Planning and Research, May 24, 2021. OPR’s survey reveals the impacts of COVID-19 on city and county planning departments and actions taken on a range of current challenges.

SB 7 could speed up housing, but requirements make it unclear how much it will help

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, May 21, 2021. The legislation requires 15 percent of new housing units be affordable to low-income families and that the projects be built with union labor.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who’ve shaped our cities

By Taylor Moore, Planning Magazine, Spring 2021. This roundup selects just three of the 12 described in the article.

Biden’s infrastructure bill could help tear down I-980 separating West Oakland from downtown

By Nico Savidge, Mercury News, May 11, 2021. One of the Bay Area’s least-used freeways could become a tree-lined boulevard with new parks, housing and other development.

California’s population declined for the first time, and only one Bay Area county grew

By Leonardo Castañeda, Mercury News, May 7, 2021. The population loss was felt strongly in the Bay Area, where Contra Costa was the only county to gain residents.

San Rafael council approves downtown corridor overhaul

By Adrian Rodriguez, Marin Independent Journal, May 7, 2021. Repaving, extending sidewalks, and a new bike lane are part of the plan.

South City scopes affordable housing options

By Austin Walsh, Daily Journal, May 3, 2021. City Council considered raising commercial linkage fees to purchase land for affordable housing development and further negotiations on some large projects.

Redwood Coast forests may be involved in justifying higher CO2 emissions

By Lisa Song and James Temple, ProPublica, April 29, 2021. A new analysis identifies serious flaws in the methodology used by the state Air Resources Board to assign carbon offset value to forests.

HCD launches housing element Annual Progress Report dashboard

By Chris Lee and Marina Espinoza, California State Association of Counties, April 23, 2021. The dashboard consolidates previously scattered state housing data into an easy-to-use visual format.

First-ever statewide ADU owner survey shows growth, room for improvement

By UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation, April 22, 2021. Results suggest that ADUs do provide relatively affordable rental housing units for Californians, but the benefits may not be equitably shared.

Appeals court rules apartment complex can go up at site Ohlone consider sacred site

By Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside, April 21, 2021. The developers first tried normal development channels, then redesigned the project pursuant to SB 35.

HUD announces student winners of 2021 innovation in affordable housing design and planning competition

From HUD User, PD&R Edge, April 19, 2021. Fresno Housing Authority, in partnership with HUD, challenged student teams to draft affordable housing proposals for a five-parcel site in an agricultural community.

Northern News June 2021

Meet a local planner • Big GP update for Oakland (photo above) • Two articles on SB 35 ruling • Student field research results • How to fix participatory planning • ‘Where in the world’ photos • Who’s where • Planning news roundup, and much more.

There’s still time to apply for a CPF scholarship

Continuing students, APPLY BY MAY 31. Watch a webinar with information on the scholarships and tips for a winning application .

Calif. officials announce plan to house 75% of Bay Area’s homeless population by 2024

By Jana Kadah, SFGate, April 14, 2021. The regional plan has input and organizing from the Governor’s Office, local governments, and philanthropic partners.

Millbrae blocks housing deal that would create hundreds of apartments near SFO

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, April 14, 2021. The California Department of Housing and Community Development warned that Millbrae’s zoning change violated state law.

San Francisco Bay: Protection from costly disasters is being thrown away, scientists say

By Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News, April 13, 2021. Experts say that recovering dredged sediment costs less than seawalls and brings more benefits.

Stocky modular buildings are popping up in East Bay – developers share their experience

By John King, San Francisco Chronicle, April 10, 2021. Sometimes the potential savings meet expectations; often, they don’t.

Google-backed affordable home site in downtown San Jose could sprout near Shark Tank

By George Avalos, San Jose Mercury News, April 7, 2021. Google intends to donate the land to the city for the development of affordable homes.

HUD report – new approach for estimating costs of homeless encampment responses

From HUD User, April 6, 2021. San Jose’s experience, along with three other U.S. cities, informed a framework that can be applied to many kinds of communities.

The ideology hiding in SimCity’s black box – with comment from James Castañeda, AICP

By Clayton Ashley, Polygon, April 1, 2021. The game was inspired by a book suggesting that social policies meant to help cities are in fact detrimental to their success.

New urban village development threatens to displace San Jose’s 60-year-old Berryessa flea market

By Jennifer Wadsworth, San Jose Spotlight, March 31, 2021. Berryessa flea market business owners and their representatives expect the city or some other public entity to help prevent displacement and gentrification.

President Biden’s infrastructure spending plan could benefit big Bay Area transit projects

By Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle, March 31, 2021. The plan is expected to benefit California’s transit agencies and high-speed rail project.

New research: urban and transport planning linked to 2,000 premature deaths per year in Barcelona and Madrid

From Barcelona Institute for Global Health, March 30, 2021. This study is the first to estimate premature mortality impacts and the distribution by socioeconomic status of multiple environmental exposures related to urban planning and transport in the two cities.

What we got wrong about Uber and Lyft

By Shira Ovide, The New York Times, March 29, 2021. A growing body of evidence suggests that on-demand ride services have negatively impacted traffic in major urban downtowns.

California may launch its own version of the Depression-era WPA

By Emily Nonko, Next City, March 25, 2021. The proposal, modeled on SF Creative Corps, would support artists and performers serving as public communicators.

Northern News May 2021

(Above: The Ferry Point tunnel connects Point Richmond’s ‘Bayside’ with its ‘refinery side.’ Photo: George Osner, AICP) • IN THE MAY ISSUE: Updating plans for Milpitas’ already successful TOD • Market research for post-pandemic planning • Northern Section’s 2021 award winners • A book review • ‘Where in the world’ photos • ‘Who’s where’ • ‘Planning news roundup,’ and much more.

Northern News April 2021

(Russian Hill photo by N. Knox, May 1966.) Miroo Desai, AICP, is our local planner interview. Alan Hoffman on inverted planning for transportation. HUD USER on the spatial heterogeneity of gentrification. And much more!

11 women whose work can inspire post-pandemic planning

By Lindsay Neiman, Planning Magazine, Winter 2021. This roundup selects just four of the eleven described in the article.

In some cities, the pandemic’s economic pain may continue for a decade

By Mark Muro and Yang You, Brookings, March 11, 2021. New forecasts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offer a useful caution.

Proposed legislation would give cities fewer excuses for blocking housing

By Josh Stephens, CP&DR, March 8, 2021. Hundreds of proposed bills would provide tools for the state and cities to increase housing production.

Study finds wildfire smoke more harmful to humans than pollution from cars

By Nathan Rott, NPR, March 5, 2021. Mitigation for exposure relies on people and households and communities knowing when to avoid smoke exposure.

Bay Area’s migration is real, but Postal Service data shows California exodus isn’t

By Roland Li, Susie Nielson, San Francisco Chronicle, March 2, 2021. Housing costs are often cited as the main reason to move.

Petaluma becomes first in the US to ban new gas stations

By Andrew Chamings, SFGate, March 2, 2021. Existing gas stations will only be allowed to add infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Where the ‘15-minute city’ falls short

By Feargus O’Sullivan, Bloomberg CityLab, March 2, 2021. Toronto-based urban designer and thinker Jay Pitter argues it risks entrenching social divisions.

Will ending single-family zoning create more housing?

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, February 28, 2021. Developers, architects, and housing advocates provide their perspective on the question.

Berkeley begins process to end single-family zoning

By Supriya Yelimeli, Berkeleyside, February 24, 2021. Berkeley was the first city in the United States to enact single-family zoning in 1916.

Cities aren’t shrinking because everyone’s moving out, but because no one’s moving in

By Henry Grabar, Slate, February 22, 2021. If the populations of the nation’s largest cities are truly plummeting, they are in big trouble.

“11 Black urbanists every planner should know”

By Pete Saunders, Planning Magazine, Winter 2021. This roundup selects just four of the eleven described in the article.

What happens when SF’s largest employer goes ‘work from anywhere’

By Laura Bliss and Sarah Holder, Bloomberg CityLab, February 12, 2021. After so much baggage attached to Salesforce’s urban footprint, it now faces a potentially emptier future.

The Californians are coming. So is their housing crisis.

By Conor Dougherty, The New York Times, February 12, 2021. For those tethered to the local economy, the influx of wealthier outsiders pushes housing costs further out of reach.

New proposed bill sets ambitious offshore wind farm target

By Paul Rogers, The Mercury News, February 11, 2021. Humboldt County is one of the most likely locations for the first big wind farms to be phased in under the bill.

Analysis: Strategies to lower cost and speed permanent supportive housing production

From UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation, February 9, 2021. Four factors led to cost and time savings on the 833 Bryant Street development compared to similar projects.

YIMBYs sue for even more housing via RHNA

By Benjamin Schneider, SF Weekly, February 4, 2021. Pro-housing activists accuse the state of underestimating the Bay Area’s housing allocation target.

A Sunnyvale Toyota dealership is turning its car lot into apartments

By Nate Berg, Fast Company, February 3, 2021. The proposal converts the lot and the space above the dealership into mixed-use.

How the federal government could help kill highways

By Max Reyes, Bloomberg CityLab, February 1, 2021. A new bill proposes funding for highway removal or alternation.

Berkeley overhauls off-street parking

By Emilie Raguso, Berkeleyside, January 27, 2021. Most new housing projects in Berkeley will no longer have to build off-street parking.

Mill Valley resolution would oppose state housing mandates

By Lorenzo Morotti, Marin Independent Journal, January 27, 2021. The resolution addresses both local control preemption and RHNA targets.

Northern News March 2021

(Mt. Tamalpais and Angel Island, from Oakland. Photo: E. Rynecki, Feb. 2021) Featured articles: • Artist-driven community engagement • Work through community conflict on climate change by confronting fears • Pandemic severely impacted taxable retail sales in Napa-Sonoma Wine Country • and a seven-page manga on the life and work of Denise Scott Brown.

How SB 35 and AB 1763 pushed through a Marin County affordable housing project

By William Fulton, CP&DR, Feb 8, 2021. Using SB 35, the developer could build twice as many units in a building twice as tall as would otherwise be permitted.

San Francisco office vacancy rate eclipses financial-crisis high

By Noah Buhayar, Bloomberg, January 12, 2021. There are already signs of an early rebound in leases.

Newsom’s proposed budget includes intergovernmental Housing Accountability Unit

Josh Stephens, California Planning & Development Report, January 11, 2021. The unit will act as a housing ‘ombudsman’ and help cities navigate RHNA compliance.

SF, UCSF community benefits package for Parnassus Heights project not enforceable

NBC Bay Area, January 4, 2021, and SF Examiner, January 11, 2021. The hospital modernization and expansion promises investments in housing, transit, and workforce training, but supervisors want legal assurance of UCSF’s commitments.

Caltrain talks regional rail

Curtis Driscoll, Daily Journal Staff, January 8, 2021. A possible partnership with BART would integrate transit schedules and services.

Newsom wants to send $600 to millions of Californians, extend renter protections

Ben Christopher, CalMatters, January 8, 2021. It’s not clear when these proposed measures will be formally introduced and if they actually pass the legislature.

New study suggests Uber and Lyft could increase car ownership

By David Grossman, Inverse, January 7, 2021. Contrary to their expectations, researchers found a slight increase on average across 224 cities.

‘Slow Streets’ disrupted city planning. What comes next?

Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab, January 6, 2021. City planners and equity advocates in Oakland and across the country reflect on the potential for trauma-informed planning.

Steep rent declines across the Bay Area in 2020

By Kellie Hwang, San Francisco Chronicle, January 5, 2021. Seasonal effects on rents mean they are likely to stay low for several more months.

Residential redevelopment of commercially zoned land in California

New analysis finds untapped potential statewide for mixed-use and infill development.

Why don’t we treat housing as infrastructure?

Sarah Karlinsky and Cristian Bevington, City Monitor, December 22, 2020. A new SPUR report showcases international strategies for housing production and affordability.

Northern News February 2021

(Above: Marin County’s only unaltered one-room schoolhouse, in use 1864-1957. Photo: George Osner, AICP) This month we have four featured and local articles including one by North Coast planner Krystle Heaney, AICP, on planning in small towns.

Northern Section counties receive over $543 million for transportation projects

By Jasmine Lee, Daily Californian, December 7, 2020. State funding will support multi-modal transportation infrastructure, including BART upgrades.

Housing measure puts San Mateo in production quandary

By Sarah Klearman, CP&DR, December 6, 2020. San Mateo voters narrowly extended existing height and density caps, potentially precluding a push for more housing.

Richmond council approves controversial shoreline mixed-use project

By Annie Sciacca, Bay Area News Group, December 3, 2020. The state has approved a site remediation plan, but activists and residents want a more thorough removal of soil.

‘Overdue’ ordinance requires SF landords to report vacancies

By CBS SF Bay Area, December 3, 2020. Vacancy data may be used to reduce speculation on rental units.

West Coast cottage reforms lead to explosive rise in permits

By Nisma Gabobe, Sightline Institute, December 2, 2020. In 2018 and 2019, cities across the West Coast successfully promoted accessory dwelling unit reforms to address the housing crisis.

Livermore development fight over new major solar farm

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, November 30, 2020. Livermore’s experience could become more common as California pursues 100 percent zero-carbon electricity.

San Francisco, trade unions at odds over modular construction

By J.K. Dineen, The San Francisco Chronicle, November 27, 2020. Trade leaders argue that cutting housing costs should not sacrifice workers’ wages.

Ambitious Sonoma Coast project paves way for ‘managed retreat’

By Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times, November 27, 2020. A Bay Area glimpse into the future for other coastal communities facing sea-level rise.

Do California ag counties hold solutions to Monterey County farmworker housing crisis?

By Kate Cimini, Salinas Californian, November 23, 2020. As farmworkers and their families dangerously overcrowd available housing, California’s coastal counties look to streamline production of safer housing.

ABAG launches energy evaluation tool for climate action planning

From ABAG, November 19, 2020. The tool uses one of the largest sets of disaggregated building energy data available in the nation.

Audit slams California for wasting billions in bonds

By Jennifer Wadsworth, San Jose Inside, November 19, 2020. The sweeping audit uncovered mismanaged and lapsed funds that could have supported affordable housing.

Northern News December 2020-January 2021

(Vasona Lake County Park, Los Gatos. Photo: Juan Borrelli, AICP) We’ve kept Northern News coming your way, and despite the pandemic, readership has increased by 60 to 80 percent since our March issue. Thank you, loyal readers!

Support the planners of tomorrow

In spite of all the craziness and losses in 2020, I’m so grateful for my family, good friends, and for my job as the City of San Jose’s Small Business Ally, which has allowed me to work from home to continue to serve my community — in particular minority, new immigrant, and vulnerable population small businesses that have been hit so hard by the ongoing pandemic. I’m also grateful to be able to give back to my profession by serving as the California Planning Foundation (CPF) President. Please help us reach our 2020 CPF Scholarship Fundraising goal by making a tax-deductible donation securely online.

Norman Foster says Covid-19 won’t change our cities

By Tom Ravenscroft, DeZeen, October 13, 2020. The master architect believes that trends of change were already in motion before the pandemic.

What do Oakland, Vilnius, and Rotterdam have in common?

By Derek Robertson, The Guardian, October 12, 2020. The phenomenon of temporarily reclaiming city streets for pedestrians has swept the world’s cities.

Google presents bold vision for downtown San Jose campus

By Victoria Song, Gizmodo, October 9, 2020. It remains to be seen how the local San José community feels about it.

Executive order directs California to conserve land, coasts

By Alexei Koseff, The San Francisco Chronicle, October 7, 2020. The order also includes directives to streamline land restoration and promote biodiversity.

New research: British Columbia shelter system tests homeless stipend

By Bridgette Watson, CBC News, October 7, 2020. Cash given directly to a select group of Vancouver-area homeless residents improved near-term outcomes.

Four Bay Area counties fail equity requirement for reopening

By Fiona Kelliher and Nico Savidge, The Mercury News, October 6, 2020. The metric attempts to address the pandemic’s disparate impact on California’s Black, Latinx, and Pacific Islander residents.

Pandemic and wildfires challenge California’s economy

By Conor Dougherty, The New York Times, October 5, 2020. Residents and leaders are rethinking where and how the state will grow.

Floodgates in Venice work in first major test

By Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times, October 3, 2020. A newly operable network of long-planned floodgates mitigates some effects of climate change.

Why Canadian metropolises will thrive despite the pandemic

By Joe Berridge, The Globe and Mail, Oct 2, 2020. Berridge assesses the challenges and possible paths forward during Toronto’s Covid recovery.

Richmond creates affordable homes from abandoned houses

By CBS SF Bay Area (KPIX), October 1, 2020. The City has partnered with the nonprofit Richmond Community Foundation to repair and sell the homes.

New law aims for fairness in foreclosure market

By Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News, September 29, 2020. The bill intends to prevent corporate homebuyers from purchasing bundles of foreclosed homes.

New CEQA law exempts sustainable transit projects

By Carly Graf, San Francisco Examiner, September 28, 2020. Improvements for pedestrian, cyclist, and transit infrastructure need to meet certain criteria to be exempt.

MTC recommends telecommuting requirement

By Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab, September 25, 2020. The remote-work recommendation is one of 35 strategies in Plan Bay Area 2050.

Northern News November 2020

Photo of Bay Bridge eastern span by Rich Hay. In this issue: Revitalizing our neighborhoods and parks • What to do about Plan Bay Area • Holiday planning • Mentorship program • Project Homekey in Oakland • Planning news roundup • And lots more.

Redefining the role of the Guadalupe River Park in San Jose

By Jason Su, October 3, 2020. We need to reframe the discussion from what a great public space should HAVE, to what a great public space should DO in order to serve our communities more equitably.

Calif. cities are leveraging Prop 68 Funds in response to Covid

By Casey Case, October 11, 2020. Small-scale improvements in parks and recreation amenities can make a big difference in California’s small- and mid-sized communities.

California’s Project Homekey turns hotels into housing

By Jared Brey. The $600 million program, which helps Calif. cities buy hotels to permanently house the homeless, has created new units at a third of the cost of building new.

Five ways to better neighborhoods post-pandemic

By Leila Hakimizadeh, AICP, and John David Beutler, AICP. As the pandemic changes commuting patterns, some residential subdivisions could begin to function more like older neighborhoods in terms of activities and businesses.

The West’s wildfires collide with its housing crisis

By Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab, Sept. 18, 2020. Oregon was short 155,000 homes before fires destroyed thousands more, including one county’s most affordable.

New research: Success for Santa Clara County homeless housing program

By Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News, Sept. 17, 2020. Results of the study are significant because this type of program has rarely been studied using a control group.

Northern News October 2020

Above, Marin sun and smoke © George Osner, AICP, 9-1-20. In this issue: Meet a local planner • Celebrate 2020’s best with new hashtag • and Planning news roundup has you covered, ICYMI

State housing mandate doubles Bay Area production target

By Susan Steimle, CBS SF Bay Area, September 10, 2020. The new RHNA numbers are out and they’re higher than ever before.

Orange skies across California as wildfire smoke blankets state

By Lori A. Carter, The Press Democrat, Sept. 9, 2020. The ‘creepy, eerie’ sky colors seen Wednesday were caused by particles in the smoke that scattered blue light.

$1B development would bring 850 housing units to SF waterfront

By Joshua Sabatini, The San Francisco Examiner September 8, 2020. The proposal creatively redevelops the site, using the state’s density bonus to achieve viability.

Google village: Legislative flop impacts downtown San Jose project

By George Avalos, The Mercury News, Sept. 4, 2020. To get streamlined review, the project would need the governor’s certification or a special legislative session.

Housing solutions fizzle in legislature

By Ethan Elkind, September 3, 2020. Housing policy impacts all of our major societal problems: racial injustice, segregation, greenhouse gas emissions, economic inequality.

NACTO: Despite pandemic, micromobility is here to stay

By Chris Teale, SmartCities Dive, September 2, 2020. Shared bikes and e-scooters saw 136 million trips in 2019, up 60% from 2018.

San Jose passes new fees for funding affordable housing

By Maggie Angst, Bay Area News Group, September 2, 2020. New commercial linkage fees give the city another affordable housing funding stream.

Lafayette’s controversial ‘Terraces’ apartments approved

By Sam Richards, Bay City News Foundation, August 25, 2020. The 315-unit project epitomizes the regional debate about where and how housing is developed.

Decades of racist housing policy left neighborhoods sweltering

By Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, The New York Times, August 24, 2020. Research shows formerly redlined urban areas experience higher summer temperatures.

The price of saving Paradise

By Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab, August 25, 2020. “The fire was a monumental event and altered people’s way of thinking about things,” including whether the entire community should be surrounded by defensible space.

SF sees historic shift in housing inventory

By Andrew Chamings, SFGate, August 15, 2020. The convergence of coronavirus and the high cost of homeownership in San Francisco may have caused residents to leave for California’s less costly regions.

SF finally approves 1,100 homes at Balboa Reservoir

By Trisha Thadani, San Francisco Chronicle, August 12, 2020. The new project includes 550 affordable units, of which 150 are reserved for City College teachers and staff.

New research: Advancing environmental justice while rebuilding existing locally unwanted land uses

By Miriam Solis, Planetizen, August 11, 2020. A case study of a San Francisco wastewater plant considers the consequences of redeveloping, rather than siting, a locally unwanted land use.

Portland passes the ‘most pro-housing reform’ to low-density zones in US history

By Michael Andersen, Sightline Institute, August 11, 2020. Portland’s new upzoning reforms allow for a wide range of “middle housing” citywide and removes parking mandates from most residential land.

Report: Single-family zoning dominates Bay Area housing, presenting barrier to integration

By Marc Abizeid, UC Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute, August 11, 2020. From the first-ever analysis of the proportion of single-family zoning in every Bay Area jurisdiction comes five general policy approaches to help address racial residential segregation.

Minor reparations

By Roxane Gay, Work Friend, The New York Times, August 9, 2020. It is absolutely unacceptable that your agency is asking you to spend your own money to improve the agency’s thinking and efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Sales tax to fund Caltrain will go before voters

Bay City News Service, Mountain View Voice, August 8, 2020. The tax would generate the necessary funding to operate the imperiled system if ultimately approved by two-thirds of voters across three affected counties.

Study: Marin to experience worst traffic delays from sea level rise

By Will Houston, Marin Independent Journal, August 7, 2020. A new Stanford study shows the North Bay may receive less flooding compared to other parts of the Bay Area, but the flooding occurs at critical connections where few alternative routes exist.

How do households describe where they live?

By Shawn Bucholtz, The Edge, August 6, 2020. New survey data collected by HUD and the US Census Bureau shows most people view themselves as living in suburbs, even those who live in central cities.

Nonmembers ask APA to support defunding the police

By Brentin Mock, Bloomberg CityLab, August 6, 2020. A letter with hundreds of signatories from across the planning field argues that planning decisions have historically contributed to police violence and harassment of Black people.

Bay Area cities reluctantly approve housing in face of state laws

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, August 5, 2020. From San Bruno to Castro Valley to Lafayette, major Bay Area housing approvals have been compelled by SB 35 and SB 330.

Sausalito confronts historic inequities, considers affordable housing on its waterfront

J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, August 5, 2020. After a general plan change, Sausalito residents argue whether to expand light industry or allow some senior or affordable housing.

Opinion: We must plan racial justice in our cities

By Dorothy Walker, Streetsblog USA, August 3, 2020. Dorothy Walker, founding president of APA, says cities’ local land-use decisions are “ripe for transformation” to lower barriers to housing for the “disadvantaged, disenfranchised, and the community at large.”

Revised SB 35 Guidelines near completion

William Fulton, CP&DR, August 2, 2020. The Department of Housing and Community Development has released a draft of updated guidelines for implementing SB 35 locally.

After 250 Years, Tribe regains Big Sur ancestral lands

By Kyle Edwards, Native News Online, July 29, 2020. The Esselen tribe plans to use the land to revitalize, and educate the public about, its culture, traditional ceremonies, and history.

Caltrans’ Low Carbon Transit Operations grants go to three North Coast jurisdictions

By Nazy Javid, KRCR News, July 29, 2020. The grants support free fares to populations that include low-income residents, youth and college students.

Northern News September 2020

(Photo: H-P garage, the 1938 birthplace of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto) This jam-packed issue has 29 articles: Nine cover some aspect of housing. And two former Section Directors tell us how planning is changing.

Northern News July-August 2020

(BLM Plaza, Washington, by Victoria Pickering bit.ly/3eZwi9A) In this double issue, six of eight featured articles, three of 10 under Northern Section, and five of 10 in the news roundup deal with Covid or BLM.

Caltrain’s future in limbo after Santa Clara County defers tax measure

By Luke Johnson, San Jose Spotlight, July 22, 2020. County lawmakers considered a proposed ballot measure for a one-eighth cent sales tax to prevent Caltrain from potentially shutting down, ultimately deferring a vote on the proposal to a special meeting on August 6.

The pandemic has pushed aside city planning rules, but to whose benefit?

By Emily Badger, The New York Times, July 20, 2020. As bike lanes and cafes sprout on streets, marginalized residents wonder when their priorities will get attention.

HCD awards millions to Northern Section cities for infill infrastructure

By Alicia Murillo, July 13, 2020. Approximately $279 million was awarded from the Infill Infrastructure Grant Program of 2019-2020, of which Northern Section cities received 44 percent.

Socially-distant community engagement: What we know

By Alyssa Chung, Meredith Rupp, and Carla Violet, July 23, 2020. What can we learn from planners who have adjusted their outreach to conform to social distancing protocols? Photo: Screenshot of an online presentation of a site plan to a virtual audience.

Meet a local planner: Lina Velasco, AICP

Lina Velasco, AICP, Community Development Director for the City of Richmond, holds a master of community and regional planning from Cornell University. She discusses her work, professional views, and issues in her city. Interview by Catarina Kidd, AICP, July 2020.

Patience, planners; patience

(Zoning, San Luis Ranch Specific Plan, San Luis Obispo) By Henry Pontarelli, July 8, 2020. Don’t expect to see cities transformed before your eyes during your planning career. Consensus is hard fought and hard earned, funding is scarce, conviction comes in cycles; but incremental change will build to meet collective goals.

Equitably resolving public space in the time of Covid-19

(BLM Plaza, Washington, DC. Photo: Victoria Pickering, https://bit.ly/3eZwi9A) By Georgia Sarkin, AICP, July 6, 2020. How can cities evolve for the better after Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter? Five factors affecting public space are crucial to consider — infrastructure, evolution, density, mobility, and equity.

Virtual vs. in-person community meetings

(Photo: William Cooley) By Sajuti Rahman Haque, June 29, 2020. Community meeting and engagement tactics are evolving to accommodate Covid-19 distancing orders, but key characteristics of in-person, physically present meetings remain invaluable.

Pandemic call and response: Planners protecting and promoting health

(Dolores Park photo by Christopher Michel https://bit.ly/3j1OlhJ) After nearly 200 interviews with local governments, planners, and communities, Diana Benitez and Jessica Medina report on actions being taken to protect community health, and implications for implementing SB1000, the Planning for Healthy Communities Act.

A rewarding profession

(Photo: Tom Rumble, https://bit.ly/3esvlpo) By David Woltering, AICP, June 24, 2020. Despite its challenges, our profession is a noble one. This business of creating and maintaining safe, healthy, and livable communities for all can be immensely satisfying and extremely interesting.

Bay Area of 2050 will be more crowded — planners want to make it more equitable, too

By John King, San Francisco Chronicle, July 20, 2020. Only July 10, Association of Bay Area Governments and Metropolitan Transportation Commission released a draft of Plan Bay Area 2050 for public comment. It emphasizes 25 “bold strategies” for making the region “affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant for all.”

“After years of debate,” San Jose may charge non-residential developers to support affordable housing

By Sonya Herrera, San Jose Spotlight, July 18, 2020. The commercial linkage fee will go to the City Council on Aug. 25 and become effective on Nov. 14, if adopted.

Riots long ago seeded luxury living today

From The New York Times, July 16, 2020, comes another perceptive article on gentrification and race by Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui. High-end development has transformed some Black neighborhoods into high-end development decades after they were scarred by unrest.

The 15-minute city as Covid-19 recovery

By Patrick Sisson, CityLab, July 15, 2020. To improve quality of life for an urbanite and boost the possibilities for municipal and economic recovery, you need to reduce the access radius for six essential functions: Living-dwelling, working, supplying and buying, well-being and caring, learning, and leisure.

The hidden toll of California’s Black exodus

By Lauren Hepler, CalMatters, July 15, 2020. Old regimes of housing and job discrimination have given way to predatory loans, disinvestment, and flare-ups of racism or violence in areas that once promised a level playing field.

‘A mini-urban miracle,’ new Berkeley homeless housing could be model for the state

By Emilie Raguso, Berkeleyside, July 10, 2020. Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board approved a new supportive housing complex that substantially lowered development costs through modular construction.

One to four: the market potential of fourplexes in California’s single-family neighborhoods

By Paavo Monkkonen, Ian Carlton, and Kate Macfarlane, UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, July 7, 2020. HCD guidelines emphasize realistic assessment of market and site capacity for new housing. Legislative efforts to promote fourplexes led UCLA’s Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies to analyze their feasibility on 6.8 million existing single-family home parcels.

New research: “Eighty-five percent solution: historical look at crowdsourcing speed limits and the question of safety”

By Brian D. Taylor and Yu Hong Hwang, June 30, 2020. The “85th percentile rule” has been used for decades to set speed limits in jurisdictions across the US. New research shows it originated earlier than most thought, and it was intended as a starting point in setting speed limits, not a firm guideline.

Who’s Where

News about Deland Chan, AICP; Afshan Hamid, AICP; Beth Altshuler Munoz; William (Billy) Riggs, PhD, AICP; Kyle Rose; Matthew Taecker, AICP; and Libby Tyler, PhD, FAICP.

A woman’s place is in the city

By Marisa Schulz, Next City, July 17, 2020. Listen to women; they are experts on the relationship between everyday life and the city. Unfortunately, women’s needs and viewpoints are underrepresented in cities.

General Plan Guideline alert: Environmental Justice

From OPR, June 24, 2020. This resource expands on the preliminary guidance provided in the 2017 General Plan Guidelines regarding environmental justice (EJ).

AICP | CM: Covid Conversations with APA New York Metro Chapter and PLANRED, Chile

By Alex Hinds and Hing Wong, AICP, July 24, 2020. The first webinar was recorded and posted. You can register for webinar Session 2 on July 30.

4 International experts on ZOOM: Cal Poly SLO CRP’s Spring 2020 series

Access to these lectures, sponsored by the City and Regional Planning Department at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, has been provided to you by Professor Vicente del Rio, PhD.

Earn required CM credits by viewing July’s law seminar

By Libby Tyler, FAICP, July 20, 2020. We’ve made it easy for you. View the webinar video and log your mandatory 1.5 AICP Certification Maintenance Law credits.

Graduating into a pandemic-afflicted world

(Photo: Brooke Cagle, cropped) In a four-minute video, Atisha Varshney, AICP, offers five tips for new graduates navigating the Covid-19 job market, and issues an invitation to join virtual roundtable discussions.

Director’s note

“Planning for equity and inclusion,” by Jonathan Schuppert, AICP, July 22, 2020. Take the time to understand our biases. Encourage our employers to offer bias training. There’s no action too small to start on this journey.

San José General Plan review and Station Area Advisory Group reconvening

Via email from Leslye Corsiglia, SV@Home, June 11, 2020. The SAAG will meet for the first time since January. All are welcome. Take the opportunity to offer feedback on the City’s most recent analyses and proposals related to the Diridon Station Area Plan. The General Plan Four-Year Review Task Force is also restarting, with the first video meeting June 25.

Nine pathways to much-needed housing

By Leila Hakimizadeh, AICP, and John David Beutler, AICP, June 3, 2020. Desperately-needed new housing can be added if we upgrade zoning and design standards and adopt policies that promote smart density, protect existing residents, and preserve affordable homes.

APA Statement on Righting the Wrongs of Racial Inequality

To read the APA Statement on Righting the Wrongs of Racial Inequality, May 31, 2020, go to  https://www.planning.org/policy/statements/2020/may31/ ShareFacebookTwitterLinkedinReddit

Bay Area billionaires are breaking my heart

By Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times, May 13, 2020. Rebuilding a fairer, more livable urban environment will take years of difficult work. It will require sacrifices from the wealthy.

Housing, the environment, the virus, and public transportation

Brief synopses of articles of interest to urban planners in addition to our longer summaries in “Planning news roundup.”

Northern News June 2020

(Photo: Part of an Earth Day project, Alto International School, Menlo Park) Local government planning in a post-COVID-19 world • TDM in a post-pandemic world • Reflections between Zoom meetings • Meet a local planner • Director’s note • Where in the world • Who’s where • Planning news roundup

Caltrain faces ‘existential crisis’

By Isabella Jibilian, San Francisco Examiner, May 8, 2020. Unlike BART and Muni, Caltrain is not funded by sales or property taxes. It depends on fares and parking fees to say afloat.

Second SB 35 ruling lets Vallco project proceed

By Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News, May 7, 2020. Ruling ends a years-long battle over massive redevelopment of failed shopping mall in Cupertino. Decisions in two SB 35 cases say cities must apply objective design and planning standards in a very clear way.

Will telecommuting yield the best long-term environmental benefit of COVID-19?

By Ethan Elkind, May 4, 2020. Working from home seems the most likely candidate for a pandemic culture-changer that reduces emissions.

Mobility: Who is moving and why?

By Riordan Frost, Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, May 4, 2020. Seven questions and answers about potential changes in residential mobility.

California shrinks; still most populous state

By Associated Press, May 2, 2020. California has been creeping toward 40 million residents without ever quite getting there.

Milan mayor: ‘People are ready’ for green change

By Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation, May 4, 2020. Milan comes out of COVID-19 lockdown with a climate-conscious attitude, encouraging other cities to follow.

The last time VMT dropped this sharply? WWII gas rationing

By Jeff Davis, Eno Center for Transportation, April 8, 2020. Gas rationing wasn’t rolled out to the whole country until December 1, 1942. But the VMT reductions were obvious as soon as rationing started in the East six months earlier.

The perfect planning job might not be possible right now

Excerpted from a May 4 blog post on APA Los Angeles by Richard Willson, Ph.D., FAICP, Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Cal Poly Pomona. Most planners bring a sense of idealism to their chosen profession.

Density isn’t easy, but it’s necessary

By Bruce Schaller, CityLab, May 4, 2020. Americans have always had difficulty with urban density, but in a crisis, we need what cities can provide. (Schaller is the former deputy commissioner of traffic and planning at the New York City Transportation Dept.)

Can we sustain a world without traffic?

By Adie Tomer and Lara Fishbine, Brookings, May 1, 2020. If leaders encourage telework, alter revenues structures, and retrofit roadways, the nation can emerge from the pandemic with stronger and safer transportation.

Northern News May 2020

(Above: Guadalupe River Trail, Jason Su) • Avery Livengood, AICP: Green gentrification • From past Section Directors: Marlene Stevenson, Darcy Kremin, AICP • “Meet a local planner” in academe • Audrey Shiramizu: TDM post-pandemic • Micromobility can rebuild cities (Next City) • Where in the world • Who’s where • “What will our future look like?” • TWO news roundups.

VTA drops plan for massive S.J. BART tunnel

By Nico Savidge, The Mercury News, April 19, 2020. Bold plans for deep downtown San Jose stations raised red flags.

Who’s where

Job change write-ups for Shannon Hake, AICP; Michael Hart; Greg Holisko, AICP; Andrea Mardesich; Lisa Porras, AICP; Ralph B. McLaughlin; Destiny Preston; Kevin Riley, and Matt VanHua, AICP, were curated by associate editor Richard L. Davis.

COVID-19 planning roundup

By Richard L. Davis, associate editor, April 14, 2020. Our editors saw many articles about COVID-19’s effects on urban planning. These 10 summaries are relevant, informative, yet much shorter than those in ‘Planning news roundup.’

Approval process for Balboa Reservoir project gets underway

By Ida Mojadad, San Francisco Examiner, April 9, 2020. After six years of public hearings, the San Francisco Planning Commission has approved the initiation of a General Plan Amendment for an 1,100-unit complex. Half of the units are to be permanently affordable for those with up to 120 percent of the area median income (AMI).

APA names AICP Fellows for 2020

From APA, March 25, 2020. One member from APA Northern Section was inducted with this year’s class of 53.

Telecommuting will likely continue long after the pandemic

By Katherine Guyot and Isabel V. Sawhill, Brookings, April 6, 2020. Telecommuting has been the fastest-growing method of commuting over the last several years. The pandemic promises to accelerate this trend dramatically.

Rapid urbanization abroad threatens old buildings, traditional markets

By Rina Chandran, Thomson Reuters Foundation, April 1, 2020. Losing heritage to modernization is not inevitable, but it requires careful choices as to what should go, what should stay, and what should come in place of things that are removed.

Director’s note: What will our future look like?

By Jonathan Schuppert, AICP, April 15, 2020. When and as restrictions on travel and assembly are gradually lifted under State guidance, implementation will largely be local. Planners should continue to lead by example, learn from others, and adapt as needed.

First-ever regionwide analysis of sea level rise impacts on Bay Area

Adapting to Rising Tides (ART), a program of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), was made available as a short summary report and main report on March 31.

What now for dense housing near transit?

By Debra Kahn, Politico, March 27, 2020. Opponents of infill and transit-oriented development are blaming population density as a primary factor behind the pandemic’s spread in urban areas.

Coronavirus: Fate of Lafayette’s big housing plan postponed

By Jon Kawamoto, East Bay Times, March 26, 2020. Only four more public hearings can be scheduled before Lafayette’s planning commission must decide on the controversial, 315-unit housing plan.

Boost for BART: Economic deal could send $1.3 billion to Bay Area public transit systems

By Nico Savidge, East Bay Times, March 25, 2020. Federal funds expected to provide some relief for BART as revenue from tickets and parking fees sharply declines.

Bay Area’s largest housing development appears dead

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, March 25, 2020. Over labor issues, Concord’s City Council declined to extend negotiations with a building group hoping to redevelop a 5,000-acre former military base. As costs have soared, the many proposed community benefits no longer appeared financially feasible to the developer.

Coronavirus: Lockdowns slow Bay Area home construction, future projects

By Louis Hansen, The Mercury News, March 23, 2020. Housing developers are concerned that the shift by local governments to virtual planning and inspection could hamper their ability to meet tight construction deadlines.

Could coronavirus collide with wildfire season? California is preparing for it

By J.D. Morris, San Francisco Chronicle, March 15, 2020. Emergency officials in Sonoma County are already planning for the potential problems of wildfires and COVID-19 occurring at the same time.

UBC expert: How coronavirus will impact future cities

By Lou Corpuz-Bosshart, UBC News, March 23, 2020. Regional housing inequality needs to be addressed. It makes no sense to continue a trend where increasingly the rich live in Vancouver and wage earners who provide services to the city are being forced further and further east.

Tackling transportation emissions in California — or ignoring them

By Melanie Curry, StreetsBlog Cal, March 5, 2020. Early in March, two California Senate committees held a joint hearing on reducing GHG emissions from transportation, the state’s highest-emitting sector.

“Grieving for my sick city”

By Michelle Goldberg, The New York Times, March 17, 2020. “When the Corona virus emergency is over, people are likely to emerge into fundamentally changed cities, with economies in crisis, and beloved restaurants, businesses, and cultural institutions gone for good. I wonder if our cultural romance with urban living will recover.”

As residents grapple with smog, Vietnam pushes renewable energy

By Michael Tatarski, New Naratif, March 16, 2020. Vietnam is often portrayed with bountiful economic opportunities for people across classes. But the construction and development that boosts economic growth is affecting health and quality of life, leaving people to deal with the situation according to their means.

Cities fighting climate woes hasten “green gentrification”

By Adam Rogers for Wired.com, February 23, 2020. Scholars say newly constructed flood-fighting infrastructure has promoted gentrification. In 2017, Northern News covered efforts in North Richmond to foster shoreline resilience without displacement.

Antioch, CA, ‘Last bastion of the good commute’ in the Bay Area

By Candace Jackson, The New York Times, February 25, 2020. The Times’ Real Estate section highlighted Antioch for its relatively affordable housing and BART access. We have included a response from Antioch’s Community Development Director at the end of the article.

Transportation Trends for 2020 (and what cities can do about them)

William Riggs, PhD, AICP, LEED AP, a professor of management at USF, reviews emerging trends in mobility and recommends city practices to foster positive aspects of these trends.

San Jose opens first tiny home community for formerly homeless residents

By Maggie Angst, Bay Area News Group, February 27, 2020. Forty tiny homes and supportive services dedicated for the homeless have opened near the San Jose Flea Market, about three miles north of downtown, on a site owned by the Valley Transportation Agency.

San Francisco debates when, where, and how to build affordable housing

By Sasha Perigo, San Francisco Examiner, March 8, 2020. San Francisco voters passed Proposition E, “The Balanced Development Act,” which ties the City’s cap on approved office space construction to its progress on the State’s affordable housing goals.

Report: SF must build taller, expand into western neighborhoods

By Adam Brinklow, Curbed SF, March 9, 2020. San Francisco’s Planning Department released a Housing Affordability Strategy that identifies the current state of the City’s housing, and three core strategies.

Scott Weiner has another bill to build denser housing in California

By Alexei Koseff, San Francisco Chronicle, March 9, 2020. Senator Wiener’s SB 902 would allow by-right development of multi-unit housing in single-family zones statewide, while scaling the number of allowable units to city size.

San Jose’s Measure E passes; will fund homelessness services and affordable housing

By Richard Davis, associate editor. San Jose voters have likely passed Measure E, a new funding source for affordable housing and homelessness support programs funded by a property sale transaction tax.

Northern News April 2020

All of us are dealing with a loss of normalcy. Your editors have met the challenge with another issue of locally authored articles, announcements, and interesting news summaries. As we planners physically separate from one another, let’s challenge our professional selves to maintain an abiding sense of service to, and caring for, our communities. (Photo: An empty Facebook campus on March 12.)

Dozens of homeless find housing in downtown San Jose

By Marisa Kendall, East Bay Times, March 6, 2020. Villas on the Park — permanent supportive housing partially funded by the county’s $950 million affordable housing bond — has opened in downtown San Jose.

ANNUAL ETHICS/LAW TRAINING CANCELLED

Due to concerns about limiting in-person events during the coronavirus outbreak, NORTHERN SECTION is cancelling the annual ethics/law training event previously scheduled for March 21, 2020, at the Alameda County Training and Education Center in Oakland. If you still need Ethics credits, you may view the webinar on the Ethics Cases of the Year presented

AICP EXAM PREP CLASS CANCELLED

The AICP Exam Prep class on March 21st has been CANCELLED, along with all classes at UC Berkeley, due to COVID-19. ShareFacebookTwitterLinkedinReddit

Marina CA shows cities can retreat from rising seas

By Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2020. Sea walls are forbidden, real estate sales must disclose sea level rise, and the city is working to move infrastructure and resort properties away from the water.

Northern News March 2020

(Photo: Chris Hadfield, NASA, 2014.) In this issue: BART progresses toward developing land at its stations under AB 2923. A 2019 book addresses the disinvestment/investment conundrum. Making it easier to negotiate the maze of Bay Area transit agencies. Deadline March 13 for Section Award nominations. Plus “Meet a local planner,” “Where in the world,” “Who’s where,” and a note from our new Director.

Public meetings are broken. Here’s how to fix them.

By Patrick Sisson, Curbed, February 12, 2020. The traditional public meeting can be exclusionary and does not often result in the kind of participation and experiences for citizens that encourage feedback. But the current public hearing process can be enhanced, and there are alternatives to be considered.

A plan to combine the Bay Area’s dozens of transit networks

By Adam Brinklow, Curbed, February 5, 2020. A new bill would establish a single universal bus fare across the Bay Area, create a combined transit map and departure time reference, and develop a transfer that works across every transit line.

Fighting sea level rise the natural way

In an interview by Lori Pottinger, PPIC, on February 3, 2020, Letitia Grenier speaks of the huge potential to work across jurisdictions and redesign systems to let natural processes solve some of our more complicated flooding problems.

Danville ballot measure sparks debate over open space

By Guy Marzorati, KQED, February 11, 2020. A proposed development for a 400-acre private property in Danville would accommodate 69 new residential units and leave 213 acres of publicly accessible open space. But the Danville Open Space Committee — a citizens group — gathered thousands of signatures to challenge the project on the March 3rd ballot. Stay tuned.

Height limit exemption effort starts in San Mateo

By Zachary Clark, Daily Journal, February 7, 2020. Measure P is a 2004 extension of a measure approved by voters in 1991 and is set to sunset by the end of the year. Now a group of San Mateo residents is pushing to extend Measure P’s existing building height limits while exempting areas around transit from the measure’s height and density restrictions.

Bay Area gets boost to affordable housing from unlikely source

By Emily DeRuy, Mercury News, February 6, 2020. New apartment complexes built on Caltrain land near Caltrain stations must reserve at least 30 percent of their units for low-income residents. But there’s no requirement that such sites be reserved for housing.

San Mateo may be first in state to use AB 1763 for low-income units

By Emily DeRuy, Mercury News, February 16, 2020. Without AB 1763, the density limits of 50 units per acre approved by city voters in 1991 would have limited the number of affordable homes that could be built on the city-owned site.

Best urban designs to reduce road injuries

From Mirage News (Australia), January 28, 2020. ‘If reducing the road toll is your ultimate goal, it is better to invest in safer alternative transport options than continuing to focus on car-based safety interventions,’ said lead researcher Dr. Jason Thompson. The University of Melbourne research highlights the importance of urban design and planning as key to reducing transport-related injuries across the world. Hat tip to The Overhead Wire.

“Three lessons 21st century housing policy could learn from ‘Little Women’ ”

By Jenny Schuetz, Brookings’ The Avenue, February 5, 2020. “It may just be the meticulous recreation of 19th century New England in Greta Gerwig’s ‘Little Women’ that has the most to say about American homes, even offering some bold yet sensible lessons to improve our own 21st century housing policy.”

SB 50 is dead – voted down by State Senators representing affluent suburbs, including the Peninsula

Senate Bill 50, in a Senate vote late Wednesday afternoon, fell three votes short of the 21 it needed to advance to the State Assembly. Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, a supporter, said, ‘SB 50 might not be coming forward right now, but the status quo cannot stand.’

How we define “housing density” is a big part of the problem

By Michael Kimmelman, The New York Times, January 28, 2020. “Jane Jacobs wasn’t focused on gentrification, and New York is not Palo Alto is not Barcelona is not Hong Kong: Density is not one size fits all. Urbanism isn’t a mere kit of parts. That said, the implications today are still plain for rezoning legislation like [California’s] SB 50.”

Northern News February 2020

To kick off 2020, we’re featuring articles on Oakland 2100-The Game, results from January’s Northern News survey, tiny homes for homeless vets in Sonoma Co., and the passing of a planning pioneer. Plus our regular features: “Meet a local planner,” “Where in the world,” “Who’s where,” and the “Director’s note” with a surprise announcement.

Will reuse developer exit the Concord Naval Weapons Station?

By Annie Sciacca, Bay Area News Group, January 8, 2020. The Concord City Council decided not to step into a dispute between the developer and local labor over how much of the $6 billion redevelopment of old Navy land should be built by union workers. The council instead instructed both sides to keep negotiating, for which it established non-binding guidelines. A city staff report suggests the developer might walk away from the project if forced to use more union labor.

If you care about California’s housing crisis, give SB50 a chance this time

By Kerry Cavanaugh, editorial writer, LA Times, Jan 7, 2019. State Senator Scott Wiener’s amendments to SB 50 aim to alleviate the criticisms that the bill robs well-intentioned communities of the opportunity to accommodate denser and more affordable housing near transit on their own terms. The bill now allows cities two years to adopt their own plans to increase the amount of market-rate and affordable housing built near transit and job centers.

“City Dreamers,” doc film on women architects who built 20th century cities

Through rare clips, the film pieces together the legacy these four women left — each with her own theory, vision, or approach to urban landscaping and planning.

Northern News December 2019-January 2020

Above: SF General Hospital and SF skyline, photo by Diana Elrod. This issue features 4 original, local articles; 4 “Where in the world” photos; 7 Northern Section announcements, including “Who’s where”; “Planning news roundup” (7); and 67 photos.

What SF crane watch does and doesn’t tell us

By Sarah Holder, CityLab, September 24, 2019. “As dots on a map, all cranes may look the same. But their impact isn’t indiscriminate. Are they harbingers of displacement, or agents of much-needed supply?”

THIS ISSUE

FEATURED ARTICLES: Meet a local planner, Leah Greenblat • Can a sports arena be a mixed-use, multiplex, urban park? • Reclaiming Downtown for People • WHERE IN THE WORLD • NORTHERN SECTION ANNOUNCEMENTS: AICP | CM credits for Ethics, Law • Nominate for Northern Section Treasurer • Funds awarded to California’s smaller jurisdictions • Miroo Desai elected to APA California office • Who’s where • Sign up for mentoring • CPF wants YOU • Nominate for East Bay Innovation Awards • About Northern News • PLANNING NEWS ROUNDUP, six articles.

Northern News October 2019

San Francisco skyline, looking SSE from Tiburon (photo by George Osner, AICP). Featured in this issue are “Meet a local planner” and downtown articles from both sides of the Bay. Publish YOUR urban planning article or photo. To submit, or for more information, contact news@norcalapa.org.

Bay Area employment tops 4.1 million jobs for first time

Excerpts from a Mercury News article by George Avalos, September 21, 2019. The Bay Area’s job market growth has outpaced the state and the nation. For the first time, the Bay Area has more than 4.1 million non-farm payroll jobs, and the newest jobs pay more.

Reclaiming Downtown for People

Hayward is in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. Its once thriving Downtown has faced the loss of retailers to outlying malls and pressures from big-box stores, online shopping, vacancies, and underutilized properties, and the evolution to an auto-oriented street and neighborhood pattern. The goals, policies, and programs of the Downtown Hayward Specific Plan, Code, and EIR address mobility, infrastructure, and design, and identify potential funding sources, timelines, and roles and responsibilities for implementation.

Vancouver may be able to pull off ride-hailing as a complement to public transit

Excerpts from an article in CityLab by Laura Bliss, September 17, 2019. Fifty-three percent of Vancouverites manage to get to work by means other than driving. One thing is conspicuously missing from this urbanist dreamscape: ride-hailing: Uber tried but couldn’t get its way into Vancouver in 2012. But applications to operate a TNC in British Columbia opened on September 3, and B.C. transportation leaders are cautiously optimistic about being a last-adopter.

Call for Nominations, East Bay Innovation Awards

The East Bay Economic Development Alliance, serving Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, awards companies and organizations that contribute to the East Bay’s legacy of innovation. Now nominate for “Built Environment,” a category added for the 2020 awards.

The California Planning Foundation wants YOU

CPF is recruiting APA California members to run for elected CPF Board positions. Here’s the Schedule: Nominations Submittal Deadline, October 21, 2019. Slate Approval and Voting by Email Ballot, November 4 through December 2, 2019.

SIGN UP FOR MENTORING

APA California – Northern is recruiting its 2019-2020 Mentorship Class, a career development initiative that offers one-on-one matching between young planners and experienced professionals who serve as mentors. JOIN BY OCTOBER 18, 2019.

Who’s where

Diana Benitez is the new Planners4Health Coordinator, Northern Section. Izanie Love, Student Representative to the Northern Section Board from San Jose State University. Amy Lyle, new North Bay Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC). See their photos and brief bios.

Can a sports arena be a mixed-use, multiplex, urban park?

Accessibility characterizes the public realm part of the Warriors’ new home. Chase Center is an urban mixed-use project, with significant public exposure and use. The site was designed to offer an urban stroll among gardens through a series of connected spaces that let you absorb much of San Francisco’s burgeoning culture, punctuated by public views of the bay.

Emeryville’s Miroo Desai elected to APA California office

This was the first election in which the new board position of Vice President for Diversity and Equity was on the ballot.

“Accept the Era of the Ministerial”

“Cities around California are beginning to feel tremendous pressure from the state to accommodate new housing rather than just plan for it. And there’s a growing feeling among planners around California that the cities they work for had better be more proactive on the housing issue so that the state doesn’t step in with even more onerous requirements.” —Bill Fulton, remarking on CP&DR about a panel at the recent APA California conference in Santa Barbara.

State, federal funds awarded to California’s smaller jurisdictions

14 California cities (four in Northern Section) got a total of $3.15 million in SB 2 planning grants, and CDBG funds totaling $21.7 million were awarded to 18 of California’s smaller cities and counties, including five in Northern Section.

Nominations for Treasurer, APA California – Northern Section

The term of Treasurer, an elected APA California – Northern Section Board position, will end on December 31, 2019. A Nominations Committee is soliciting and will review applications. The Treasurer will serve a two-year term commencing January 1, 2020.

Get your AICP | CM credits for Ethics and Law

Get your mandatory “AICP CM” credits on Ethics and Planning Law via Northern Section’s webcast on APA’s “Ethics Case of the Year” Oct. 25, 2019, and a Planning Law webcast Nov. 15 on cannabis, SB 35, and streamlining statutes. BOTH FREE.